Authors: Charlotte Abel
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Teen & Young Adult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Witches & Wizards, #Paranormal & Urban
The Complete Channie Series Box Set:
Enchantment, Taken, Finding Valor, Love Hurts, The Gathering, and a bonus, full-length novel from The Sanctuary Series
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite online book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 Charlotte Abel
All rights reserved.
: Book One
Kindle Bestseller Top 20
“Love and Romance”
“This book will make you believe in magic.”— J. Timothy King author of
From the Ashes of Courage
“This unique addition to the paranormal romance genre deals with teenage sexuality in a nuanced yet discreet way ... recommended for fans of the Twilight series, Harry Potter, or paranormal romance in general.”
Jared Oliver Adams author of
One Good Thing
"This book took me to places I've never been ... Once I was
drawn in, I was unable to put it down until the end." — Shannon Dermott author of
Beg for Mercy
"Magic, treachery, humor and thrills ... flat out fun to read. Five Stars!" — Ben Langhinrchs author of
My Cozy Chair
“The writing is superb, really polished plot and characters … a whole new world to get lost in.” — Jason Matthews author of
The Little Universe
"Every girl wants their prince charming to be just like Josh. It made me cry and laugh and gasp ... a make your heart warm and tingle kind of love story!" — Natasha
“If you crave excitement and danger with your romance and can't get enough of Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, or Cassandra Clare make room on your Kindle for
of the August sun. A southerly breeze, heavy with dust, tugged at her frizzy, white-blonde hair. She wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand and inched forward until she could peek over the edge of the cliff. It was at least ninety-eight degrees in the shade, but a chill ran down her spine.
Hunter pointed at an outcropping of granite twenty feet below. “An empty died there two years ago.”
“An empty?” Channie blinked and shifted her attention from the deadly rock to Hunter. He’d grown another two inches since the last time she’d seen him. But that wasn’t the only thing that’d changed. The angles of his jaw and chin were sharper. The peach fuzz was gone, replaced by reddish-blond stubble. A splash of freckles across the bridge of his nose was the only remnant of boyishness that remained.
“Sorry. Magically disabled…MD…whatever.” Hunter leaned over and picked up a small chunk of rose quartz off the ground. His sandy blond hair, bleached two shades lighter by the sun, fell forward, framing his tanned face. He tossed the rock over the edge of the cliff. It bounced and pinged against the jagged rocks six times before splashing into the water. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I don’t care what you call ‘em.” Channie used the derogatory slang for magically disabled people herself. “I’m just surprised an empty got this far into mage territory.”
Hunter shrugged. “He paid for it with his life.”
Channie stretched and leaned forward, just a bit, to get a better look at the water. She was strong and shouldn’t have any trouble jumping out far enough to keep from smearing her brains on the outcropping, unless she slipped or leaped too soon. She’d need to take off right at the edge. Even then, hitting the water from this height would feel like slamming into concrete. “You’ve jumped from here before, right?”
“Lots of times.” Hunter puffed out his chest, straining the fabric of his hand-me-down t-shirt. “But we can hike down to the quarry if you’re too scared to jump.”
Channie narrowed her eyes. “I’m not scared.”
Hunter grinned and nudged her shoulder with his. “Atta girl.”
He backed away from the edge, peeling his shirt off over his head in slow motion, flexing his muscles like a movie star in a love scene. Channie rolled her eyes for his benefit but enjoyed the show nonetheless.
Hunter’s grin turned into a smirk. “Your turn.”
“Uh-uh. No way.” Channie folded her arms over her chest and shook her head.
“Why not?” Hunter hooked his thumbs in his belt loops, tugging his cutoffs dangerously low on his narrow hips. The bright red fabric of his boxers peeked out over the top of his waistband. “Your bra and underpants will cover up the interesting bits.”
“I’m not showing you my skivvies!” Channie was proud of her curves, but she wasn’t taking her shirt off just because Hunter wanted her to. Jumping off a cliff was one thing, swimming half naked was something else entirely.
“Then turn around.” Hunter made a circular motion with his hand. “I ain’t showing you mine if you don’t show me yours.”
“I don’t want to see your underwear!”
“Fine. I’ll take ‘em off.” Hunter dropped his hands to the button on his waistband.
Channie’s eyes widened. “Don’t you dare!”
Hunter placed his hands on her shoulders. The heat from his calloused palms soaked through the thin fabric of her t-shirt. He turned her around then gathered her hair into a loose ponytail and draped it over her right shoulder. His breath tickled the back of her neck. “The water’s murky after last night’s storm. You ain’t gonna see nothing. But if you want to sneak a peek before I jump, I won’t tell.”
Channie spun around and lifted a hand to smack him.
Hunter laughed and caught her wrist before she landed the blow. His grip was firm, but gentle. “Calm down. I was just teasing. I even put a couple of towels down by the base of the cliff before you got here. I’ll cover up when we get out.”
Channie jerked away from him and turned her back. She tried not to imagine Hunter naked, but the sound of him unzipping his cutoffs didn’t help.
His feet slapped the ground with dull thuds as he ran.
Channie waited until she heard his whoop of delight before turning around. She spotted his cutoffs and shirt draped over a fallen log but there was no sign of his bright red boxers. Hopefully, they were still on his body.
Hunter’s voice echoed off the rocks. “Your turn.”
This was crazy.
was crazy. But there was no way Channie was gonna chicken out after he’d already jumped.
She stuffed the hem of her t-shirt into her waistband, dug her toes into the dirt then took off like a beagle after a rabbit. Her stomach flipped as she hung weightless for a split second, then lurched into her throat as she fell. The deadly outcropping zipped past on her right, a near miss that shot adrenaline into her bloodstream. She tucked her knees to her chest, wrapped one arm around her shins and pinched her nose shut.
The force of impact needled the small of her back and yanked her shirt out of her cutoffs. But the look on Hunter’s face just before she cannonballed him was worth the pain.
She came up laughing, sucked in a quick breath of air and grabbed Hunter’s wrists, expecting him to dunk her.
Instead, he guided her hands to his broad shoulders. “Has anyone ever told you that your eyes sparkle like emeralds?”
“No.” It was a cheesy line. But it wasn’t what he said, as much as how he said it, that sent a full body shiver from the top of Channie’s head to the tips of her toes.
Hunter arched his eyebrows then slid his fingers around the bare skin of her waist. “Are you cold?”
“No.” A rush of heat flushed every inch of Channie’s skin as another tremor shook her body.
Hunter smiled then let go of her waist and crawled onto a ledge at the base of the cliff. His boxers clung to his backside, leaving very little to the imagination. He kept his back to her as he wrapped a towel around his hips then turned around and offered Channie his hand. “Come on, let’s go get warmed up.”
Hunter locked his gaze on Channie’s chest when he handed her his extra towel.
She glanced down to see what had captured his attention, praying it wasn’t a leech. Heat flooded her cheeks when she realized he could see through the thin fabric of her wet t-shirt. She yanked the towel out of his hand and wrapped it around her body.
Hunter grinned but didn’t say anything.
When they got to the top of the trail, he grabbed a faded quilt out of a picnic basket, scooped his clothes up off the log and headed towards an old, one-room shack.
A mixture of nerves and excitement tightened Channie’s belly as she followed him.
Hunter retrieved a key from a hollow stump and unlocked the door. “This used to be the foreman’s office before they closed the quarry.”
The door creaked as it swung inward. Hunter stepped aside and grinned at Channie. “Ladies first.”
Sunlight poured through holes in the corrugated tin roof, dappling the warped plywood floor. The boards groaned as Channie crept inside. She threaded her way amongst crushed beer cans, broken glass and litter.
Hunter’s bare chest grazed the back of Channie’s arm as he slid past her, making her shiver yet again. He spread his quilt over a stained mattress in the corner then sat down and patted the spot next to him.
What exactly did he have in mind when he suggested they get warmed up? She arched an eyebrow at him.
Hunter rolled his eyes. “I just wanna talk.”
“Is that what you told Lovie Schmidt at Spring Gathering?” Channie had tried all summer to forget about Hunter and Lovie, but the sight of them going at it inside the barn was burned into her brain.
Hunter’s eyes widened. “You know about me and Lovie?”
knows about you and Lovie.”
“Dang. No wonder I can’t get a date with a nice girl.”
Channie gasped as her mouth fell open. “You don’t think I’m a nice girl?”
“No! I mean…yes.” A pink flush spread across Hunter’s cheeks. “I mean…I didn’t realize this was a date. I thought we were just having fun.”
“Fun?” Channie narrowed her eyes.
“Whoa.” Hunter held his hands up, palms out. “I wasn’t implying nothing.”
“You told me at Spring Gathering that there were two kinds of girls. The kind you have
with and the kind you marry.” He’d also told her she was the marrying kind. He hadn’t elaborated, but Channie’d thought he was declaring himself—until he snuck off for a roll in the hay with Lovie Schmidt five minutes later. “I know what ‘fun’ means to boys like you.”
Hunter furrowed his brow and blinked. “Boys like me?”
“The kind that tom cats around with any girl stupid enough to let him; but expects his bride to be pure as the driven snow.”
Hunter’s voice dropped. “I ain’t like that.”
Channie wasn’t falling for his sad puppy act. “I’m not having
until there’s a ring on my finger.”
“I ain’t got a dime to my name. I cain’t ask you to marry me. But, I’m willing to give up all them other girls if you—”
“How many girls have you been with?”
Hunter ducked his chin and scratched the back of his head. He peeked at Channie from under his lashes. “I ain’t actually
with anyone yet. Not like that. I was hoping that…never mind.”
Channie’d known Hunter all her life, and she’d had a crush on him for as long as she could remember, but he was a boy. And boys couldn’t be trusted.
Hunter tugged his cutoffs on over his wet boxers but didn’t bother with the zipper. “Why’d you even agree to meet me out here?”
“I was hoping you’d kiss me.” Channie slapped her palm over her mouth. She had a bad habit of spurting out whatever was on her mind before thinking about it.
A slow grin spread across Hunter’s face. “You’ve never been kissed, have you?”
Channie wasn’t about to admit it. She was sixteen for heaven’s sake. It was high time somebody kissed her. But from the amount of lust leaking out of Hunter’s energy field, he wanted a lot more than a simple kiss.
“Come here.” He dropped his voice to a sexy growl and patted the mattress again. “I’d be honored to give you your first kiss.”
Channie’s heart skipped a beat. You didn’t need a mattress for kissing. She raised her shield and backed up a step.
“Channie?” Hunter’s smile disappeared. “What’s wrong?”
Hunter hadn’t even offered her any moonshine so it wasn’t likely that he’d stoop so low as to try to use a Come-hither spell on her. Channie didn’t want to insult him. But they were alone, miles from the nearest cabin. She kept her shield in place, even though it was an affront to his honor.
“I don’t believe this!” Hunter yanked his t-shirt on over his head then jammed his arms through the sleeves as if he wanted to punch someone. “You’ve been using your power name on me for the past three years. I’m the one that needs a shield.”
“I have not!” At least, not on purpose. Channie was just a nick name. Her real name, her power name, was Enchantment.
It made her more likable and most folks responded favorably to that. She might tap into her powers during an argument to help someone see things her way, but it was good magic, persuasive magic, not dark, not a curse like a come-hither spell. “You’re the one that invited me to go swimming. Not the other way around.”
Hunter stood up and adjusted his cutoffs, tucking a stray bit of red fabric into the fly. He yanked his zipper up then paused with his hands on the button. “What are you staring at?”
“Nothing!” Channie dropped her gaze to the ground and took another step back.
“I swear girl, you are such a tease.”
“And you’re a royal pain in the ass.” Channie’s eyes stung with unshed tears. She’d dreamed about her first kiss for years. And every dream had starred Hunter Feenie. But he was ruining everything.